May 1, 2014 Subject:
Is There an Alchemist in the House?
How does Estimated coalesce such discrepancies, lumbering through verses alien and dysphoric, then igniting something celebratory for the chorus? Yes Virginia, there was great Dead music in the 90s. Estimated is all about the Bridge where the prophet declaims, “Shining on the beach, the sea will part before me. Then you will follow me, and we will rise to glory.” This one is special. He’s telling you the truth. There is no derangement in his voice. He’s convinced but not zealous, as many are inclined to interpret these lyrics, which you should not.
Reviewer:Evan S. Hunt
January 3, 2011 Subject:
An Evening Filled With Encore
Have to agree with previous reviewer ZenMoon, although I didn't grok the Terrapin reference. Oh, well.
Love this recording. Thank you Keith Litzenberger. I like how he gives us the entire show without editing between song tunings.
This is a well-played, last-of-its-kind show reverently staged for the band's fallen mentor, Bill Graham. There is little fanfare and almost no band patter ~ a rather noticeable lack of the usual bigtime countdown and NYE hype that generally surrounded Sugar Magnolia ala every year. If there was any of that sort of thing (except for an almost imperceptibly hushed and abbreviated countdown coming out of the jam into Not Fade Away) then this reviewer completely missed it. In fact, this version of NFA is as close to having ingested a sleeping pill as I've ever heard and is perhaps this show's only gross unmoving violation on the 92 expressway.
Brent Mydland was hard for the band to replace and I was a big fan of Bruce, but it seemed like Vince didn't fit that well at first. Some Heads were unhappy that Hornsby stepped too often on Jerry moments, but in videos I've seen, Jerry was loving it. Believe the combination of Hornsby and Welnick loosened Jerry to play some of the things he'd always wanted to try on stage with the band but was shackled for so long because of having to triple team the melody/harmony duty.
Vince does a really passable job both on the keys and the singing. There are many places in these year-ending shows "inside the Coliseum" where the succulent sounds emanating from Vince's grand and elegant piano chords remind me of Hornsby's delicately slippery shadings of 1990 and 91.
For me, the highlight of this show is the life-changing version of Estimated (listen to the summarizing chords out of the jammed chorus before the last verse ~ YOWZER !!!) followed by a beautifully disjunct space jam into a piquantly flavorful drumming and percussive glam-job done by Billy, Mickey, Airto, Baba and Bela Fleck? I think? on the flute? Or was he playing some sort of midi-banjo? Can't discern the instrument or who's playing it, but I think I read on another review that it was Fleck.
The remainder of the show is other-worldly and Heaven's Door is a perfect finishing touch to an evening filled with encore.
Remember recording this show off KPFA-FM and thinking to myself how little the band talked to the audience. It would seem as if they knew this would be their last NYE and there was nothing more to say.
Unfortunately, one day in 1992, I left the cassette tapes atop a garbage can in front of 7-11. Hope a Dead Head got 'em.
July 3, 2009 Subject:
Last New Years show
A very good aud. recording of a magnificient show (A+).
Their last NYE and a really good one. Jerry is on and Vince Welnick has a really good night, not least in the impressive jam out of "Terrapin". One of those nights when the band was in the zone and everything has that extra soomething.
Source: flac16/48kHz; 5.1 LPCM Surround Sound (48k) - SBD (shnid=32574) SBD (Ultra-Matrix) -> Master Dat (44.1k) All Transfers and Mastering By Charlie Miller + AUD (shn id 6812) FOB/DFC hand held/ORTF B&K 4011 > Neuman BS 48i-2 phantom power > Sony TCD D-10 Pro-2 (modified) DAT master > 1 clone played back through an Edirol UA-5, hardware resampled from 48k to 44.1k > Soundforge > CD-wav > SHN seekable SHN files encoded w/Mkw-act. - mixing by Kevin Tobin